Bahraini Lawmakers to Punish Porn Downloads With Jail Time

Bahraini Lawmakers to Punish Porn Downloads With Jail Time
Michael Hayes
MANAMA, Bahrain — A local lawmaker has introduced legislation that would impose a 1-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of downloading Internet pornography, according to a report in the Gulf News.

Council of Representatives member Abdullah Al Dossari introduced the measure as part of a comprehensive bill of fines and jail terms targeting illegal behavior online, which he said runs the gamut from pornography to economic crimes.

“We have noted an alarming surge in cyber crimes resulting from impressive technological developments, but the perpetrators are not always punished,” Al Dossari said. “I am submitting this bill to deter anyone who wants to steal money or disseminate destructive ideas or spread vice.”

The bill would impose a 1-year jail term on anyone found guilty of using the Internet to download, possess, host, publish or otherwise distribute pornographic content.

While a number of countries in the region have balked at allowing their citizens to access the Internet, Bahrain has taken a different tact. In its bid to become the telecommunications hub of the Persian Gulf, the island nation has made Internet access widely available. But access to the Internet has caused distress among religious authorities.

Islamic leaders have complained that authorities have not done enough to block sexually explicit material from entering the country via the Internet.

The Ministry of Information has denied that charge, saying that it has blocked a number of pornographic websites.